Evening. Nearly 10pm. The sun just went over the mountains more than 1 hour ago. The moon will rise only around 3am, so it is pitch black. The stars can't reflect enough light I could see my foresail.
There is 11 meters sailing vessel, called Alka, in the middle of Elafonisou straight (Greece) with very unstable wind gusting from 5 to 20 knots... And bearing course variation about 20 degrees.
(Not to mention, doing 1 knot and trying to catch some gusts by the ripples on the water for more than an hour before that).
There are shore lights obviously. And motor vessels. Tankers, cargo or passenger ships. From 90 upto 320 meters length. Speeding on from 10 to 15 knots.
Just in less than 3 nautical miles gap.
At first big tanker (nearly 200 meters length) called me on VHF and asked me what is my course (it wasn't very stable and he wanted to make sure how to overtake me).
That was no problem to arrange that but the question is - why am I treated and called as MOTOR vessel on radio? It is not the first time. I am sure they can see on AIS that I am sailing vessel.
I know I do have priority but I never exploit that privilege. Do a lot of sailors do that and thats why commercial ships just call you motor vessel in case anything happens so they would have an excuse?
Anyhow. I am on stable course getting out of this "meat grinder" as wind has picked up.
And then it has started...
I should have made a screenshot but I wasn't thinking about that, just about safety and what the hell was happening there.
"What is you course?"
"Turning to port ot overtake."
"No! You can't do that. It is on collision course!"
"There is another boat, I am overtaking by my starboard."
"No! Collision!". Panic in the voice. "Turn to starboard!"
And with all that I am sitting ducks. I know that I am about 2nm away from that, but I don't have my AIS screen in the cockpit to constantly see who is speaking to and what they are doing.
Especially that they mention your vessel's name only once in that much of noise and you are still not sure if you are good or not.
Now I understand traffic seperation schemas.
Though not sure it is the best place to put one as it is too narrow.
And I might become a motor vessel in the next few weeks and there might not be enough wind around. But there is steaming light always. And less or no sails during the day. Right?